For Immediate Release
202-872-2680 (media hotline)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 21, 2021) – Pepco and its five sister Exelon utilities join fellow environmentally conscious organizations all over the world in celebration of Pollinator Week, an international effort from June 21-27, 2021, to raise awareness about the urgent need to address declining pollinator populations and promote their valuable contributions to the ecosystem.
Supporting pollinator habitats and biodiversity is an integral part of Pepco's operations, with an emphasis on transforming transmission rights-of-way throughout Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland into a more welcoming place for pollinators to live. Pepco actively manages 2,295 acres of rights-of-way using Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) to improve wildlife habitats and has a goal to increase that number to 2,700 acres by 2028. IVM also encourages the growth of compatible low growing native shrubs and grass, lowers Pepco's carbon footprint because it requires less mowing, and improves water quality within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
"Pollinators are essential to preserving a healthy ecosystem and we are committed to expanding and protecting the habitats where they live and breed," said Sam Williams, Pepco Holdings vice president, Support Service, which includes Pepco. "We have a responsibility to protect wildlife, including pollinators. Strategies to protect these habitats as part of the energy work we do are a key opportunity for us to improve the environment we all share."
Most flowering plants and staple crops rely on animal pollinators for reproduction. Bees, butterflies, birds, and more than 200,000 other pollinator species are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat and $20 billion worth of products annually in the United States. But pollinators face a growing threat of habitat loss as native vegetation is replaced by roadways, monoculture, and non-native plants, and their well-being is further threatened by humans' overuse of pesticides and by climate change. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists dozens of critical pollinators as endangered or threatened.
That's why Pepco's pollinator support extends beyond transmission corridors. While portions of Pepco transmission rights-of-way are certified by the National Wildlife Federation and/or the Wildlife Habitat Council, four other company sites across Pepco Holdings, which includes Pepco, also hold these certifications for being welcoming to pollinators and other wildlife. Pepco additionally installed and manages pollinator gardens at the Benning Service Center in Northeast Washington, D.C. and native-plant landscaping that promotes pollinators at the WaterShed Sustainability Center in Rockville, Md.
As owners and managers of tens of thousands of acres of land, Exelon's utilities—Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO, and Pepco—are uniquely positioned to be leaders of pollinator stewardship. Earlier this year, ComEd applied for a binding Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the monarch butterfly. Pepco, Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and BGE are also applying for CCAAs. Pepco would pledge under its CCAA to convert 18 percent of transmission right-of-way to pollinator habitat specifically to protect the monarch, which is threatened so significantly it is a candidate to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Pepco's Meadow Management Program also promotes the germination and growth of dormant annual and perennial wildflower seeds that provide food and nectar for bees, butterflies and caterpillars. Pepco was recognized by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the Wildlife Habitat Council for establishing pollinator-friendly practices along company rights-of-way. The meadow management program has existed on Pepco rights-of-way since 1999 and Wildlife Habitat Council recognized Pepco rights-of-way in 2019 for IVM efforts.
Exelon's corporate Biodiversity and Habitat Policy ensures its operating companies pursue other important pollinator-friendly strategies. For example, higher diversity seed mixes are used in vegetation restoration efforts, employees have access to educational resources about pollinators, and community pollinator initiatives are supported through partnerships with nonprofits and regulatory agencies.
Pollinator Week is organized by Pollinator Partnership, the largest nonprofit organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.
More information about Pollinator Week, including how you can get involved, is available at pollinator.org.
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